By Ray McGovern for Consortium News. After a multi-month, politically charged investigation, German intelligence agencies could find no good evidence of Moscow-directed cyber-attacks or a disinformation campaign aimed at subverting the democratic process in Germany. Undaunted, Chancellor Angela Merkel has commissioned a new investigation. President Barack Obama talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the G7 Summit at Schloss Elmau in Bavaria, Germany, June 8, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) President Barack Obama talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the G7 Summit at Schloss Elmau in Bavaria, Germany, June 8, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) Like the vast majority of Americans malnourished on “mainstream media,” most Germans have been led to believe that, by hacking and “propaganda,” the Kremlin interfered in the recent U.S. election and helped Donald Trump become president.Last year, Berlin’s two main intelligence agencies, the BND and BfV (counterparts of the CIA and FBI) launched a joint investigation to substantiate allegations that Russia was meddling in German political affairs and attempting to shape the outcome of Germany’s elections next September.
By Edward Taylor and Mark Heinrich – A proposal to stop sales of new combustion-engine cars by 2030 has gained cross-party support in Germany’s Bundesrat, the country’s upper house of parliament, Der Spiegel reported. German lawmakers should urge their counterparts in Brussels to push incentives for only zero-emission vehicles to be registered by 2030, the weekly news magazine said, citing a decision taken in a Bundesrat meeting.
By Jon Queally for Common Dreams – Taking aim at both the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and theComprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), European Union deals with the United States and Canada respectively, opponents say the agreements are not really concerned with expanding trade but rather increasing corporate power. “CETA and TTIP threaten environmental and consumer protection for millions of people in Europe and North America,” said Jennifer Morgan, co-executive director of Greenpeace International.
By Staff for DW. “Blockupy” is back, demonstrating against austerity, consumerism, and the plight of refugees in Germany. Supporters could be seen all over Berlin demanding a more egalitarian approach to integration and economic policy. Anti-capitalism protesters of the “Blockupy” movement took to the streets of Berlin on Friday to protest the policies of the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. Although there were 50 arrests and a brief scuffle in which some demonstrators threw rocks at officers, authorities categorized the atmosphere as largely calm. The collective has its origins in Frankfurt in 2012, where protesters began to gather regularly outside the European Central Bank (ECB) and takes its name from the Occupy movement that took place on New York City’s Wall Street.
By Alexandra Sims, Jon Stonem for the Independent. The free trade negotiations between the European Union and the United States have failed, but “nobody is really admitting it”, Germany’s Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel has said. Talks over the so-called Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, also known as TTIP, have made little progress in recent years. The 14th round of negotiations between American and EU officials took place in Brussels in July. It was the third round in six months. At the time, the talks were thought to be in trouble after a number of leading European politicians expressed concern about TTIP’s effects and the US’s reluctance to accept changes to the proposed deal. In May, cracks emerged when France threatened to block the deal. President Hollande said he would “never accept” the deal in its current guise because of the rules it enforces on France and the rest of Europe – particularly in relation to farming and culture – claiming they are too friendly to US businesses. “We will never accept questioning essential principles for our agriculture, our culture and for the reciprocity of access to public [procurement] markets,” Mr Hollande is reported as saying at a meeting of left-wing politicians in Paris
By Matt Agorist for The Free Thought Project – While NATO is touting this move as training, the Russians are calling it the “summer of provocation,” and a move to reignite the Cold War intended to force Moscow to starve its domestic economy to ramp up its military to meet a growing external threat. Russia is not alone in their assertion either. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told Bild am Sonntag newspaper this week that these ostensible ‘war games’ are little more than warmongering.
By DW.com. Around 5,000 peace activists protested the use of the Ramstein facility in southwestern Germany for the US-led drone war. A nine-kilometer (5.5-mile) human chain was later formed to demand limits on the use of the base. Among those taking part in Saturday’s protest was former German Finance Minister Oskar Lafontaine, who said the US drone program contravenes international law. He also hit out at the German government’s silence on the use of drones from Ramstein, saying it was “schizophrenic” that Berlin is generous to refugees but then gives its support to wars waged by the US.
By Ben Knight for DW – The German Magistrates Association (DRB) has delivered a slap in the face to the European Union, by coming out against one of the key planks of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) – the special courts allowing investors and corporations to sue national governments if their policies happen to threaten their profits. “The DRB sees neither a legal basis nor a need for such a court,” the association said in a statement issued on Wednesday. The judges added that the assumption that foreign investors currently don’t already enjoy “effective judicial protection” has no “factual basis.”
By Staff of Ruptly TV – About 400 protesters gathered despite freezing temperatures in Berlin’s city centre at Wittenbergplatz, Saturday, to show solidarity with Kurdish citizens and their anger with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s current policies towards the Kurdish population. They marched along the famous Kurfuerstendamm shopping mile in the early afternoon. The demonstration lasted for two hours with no incidents to report at the time of writing. Around a dozen police vans and tens of police officers accompanied the protest on foot to block traffic and to intervene with any violations with regard to the right to demonstrate.
By Staff of DW – Police used water cannon and tear gas in the eastern German city’s suburb of Südvorstadt on Saturday as violence erupted during a set of protests by various civil groups against a gathering by 200 neo-Nazis. Authorites said 69 police officers were injured and 50 of their vehicles were damaged. Twenty-three people people were detained until early Sunday. Leipzig prosecutors said they were preparing numerous indictments of seriously breaching the peace.
By Elisabeth Braw for Aljazeera – BERLIN — A German human rights group has filed a criminal complaint against Alfreda Frances Bikowsky, a CIA official who allegedly authorized torture of suspected al Qaeda militants. The complaint, submitted in federal court on Monday, presents proof of Bikowsky’s involvement in the torture of German citizen Khaled El Masri and asks that she be prosecuted in Germany. It also puts Bikowsky, nicknamed the “Queen of Torture,” in the spotlight of European efforts to hold CIA officials accountable for allegations of abuse. In 2003, Macedonian agents, mistaking El Masri for a suspected member of the 9/11 plot, seized the Kuwaiti-born car salesman as he was on his way to Skopje, the capital, for vacation, holding him for 23 days.
By Victor Grossman for Counter Punch – Berlin. It was a day to remember, a date for the record books! It marked a surprising development in German politics! And who said Germans don’t like protest marches or demonstrations? The organizers counted 250,000, a quarter of a million. Of course the police scaled that down – to 150,000. But who’s counting – it was definitely the biggest since 2003 against the Iraq War. It was a protest against the “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership”, TTIP, and its equally spurned Canadian sister, CETA. Like their US-Pacific clone TPP, both are to be shoved through the JA-vote mill, with little discussion of their contents, or even knowledge of them, after years of top-secret sessions with big biz experts and lobbyists.
By PressTV – Hundreds of anti-war protesters have staged a rally against the US military presence in Germany, voicing opposition to Washington’s use of killer drones around the world. Carrying signs addressed to the US army, which read “go home” and “stop war,” the demonstrators gathered outside the US Ramstein Air Base in Germany’s southwestern state of Rhineland-Palatinate on Saturday. Slamming the US drone strikes in certain countries, the protesters called for an end to the alleged use of the air base as a satellite relay station in the drone program. “No to the killer terror drones,” read another sign carried by the protesters. Earlier this year, German media reported that Ramstein has been serving as the command center of the US drone strikes across Africa and the Middle East and that the German government is aware of the attacks.
By Victor Grossman for Portside. Berlin, Germany – ”A million refugees in Germany this year,” predicted Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel. But Angela Merkel had announced that all were welcome – winning her a reputation as the most humane leader in all Europe. Did her internationalist upbringing in East Germany, with a progressive Christian pastor as father, play some role at first? But suddenly the line was changed; German crossing points from Austria were shut down. Then Austria closed its entry points from Hungary, while Hungary, by far the most brutal, plugged up its entry points from Serbia with razor wire and, when it felt necessary, with batons, tear gas and multiple arrests. Now Serbia has followed suit, Croatia felt forced to do the same, and those Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans and other refuge-seekers who survived dangerous crossing through ever stormier seas are caught in a series of mouse-traps.
By Al Jazeera – Hundreds of mostly Syrian refugees have begun marching to the Austrian border after being prevented from boarding trains to Germany in the Hungarian capital Budapest. Authorities appeared to be allowing groups of refugees to make the 170km journey to the border crossing on Friday amid tense scenes across the country. Al Jazeera’s Andrew Simmons, reporting from near the M1 and M7 motorways outside Budapest, said authorities appeared to be helping the refugees make the journey despite fears the road would be blocked. “There are hundreds of people who have marched something like 10km from the centre of Budapest from the rail station to here…they say they have no option but to do this. “It may sound far fetched but they’re intent on reaching the border.